77881 - Archaeology of the Sacred in the Phoenician and Punic Mediterranean

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course regards the detailed analysis of the historical, archaeological and epigraphic data relating to all aspects of the cult, the documentation relating to the sanctuaries and to the elements of the funeral ritual in use in the Syro-Palestinian coast, in Cyprus and in the Western Mediterranean from early Iron Age to the Romanization. After completing the course the student knows the specialized bibliography on religious history and is able to contextualize the artifacts related to Phoenician and Punic religion. The student reaches a sufficient level of knowledge of ritual practices through the study of inscriptions.

Course contents

Archaeology of human sacrifices and ritual killings in the Phoenician and Punic Mediterranean.

The course will be conducted according to the cultural background of attending students. Some introductory lessons of a general nature (from 3 to 5) may be envisaged to compensate for any gaps.


  1. Lectures notes.
  2. P. Xella, Giovanni Garbini e il tophet, in P. Callieri - A.C. Fariselli (edd.), «E non appassisca il tuo germoglio spontaneo». Studi fenici e punici in ricordo di Giovanni Garbini, Lugano 2019, pp. 211-221.
  3. A. C. Fariselli, Bambini e campanelli: note preliminari su alcuni "effetti sonori" nei rituali funerari e votivi fenici e punici, in Byrsa 21-22, 23-24 2012-2013, pp. 29-44.
  4. A. Mederos Martin,Sacrificios de niños y sustitutorios de ovicápridos al dios Sol šmš en el litoral atlántico norteafricano, in "Byrsa" 19-20 (2011), 79-127.
  5. A.C. Fariselli, Il “trionfo sulla morte” e il mestiere delle armi nella simbologia delle stele votive cartaginesi, in Byrsa, 19-20 (2011), 2013, pp. 61-77.

Program for non attending students

Non-attending students are expected to complement bibliographic material studying the volume: 

Riti sacrificali, simbologia funeraria ed emblemi politici da Cartagine a Lixus Byrsa 19-20, 2011

Teaching methods

Lessons and seminar activities. Attendance is encouraged, although not mandatory, and students' active participation in the lessons.


At the end of the course, on a completely voluntary basis, attending students may have the opportunity to participate at the Tharros' excavations (OR) and may be involved in the ongoing study on the city's templar structures.

Assessment methods

The examination will take place through individual interviews.

Students must know the fundamentals of the Phoenician and Punic civilization. They must also be able to place within the historical framework archaeological, epigraphic and iconographical sources examined during the lessons. The assessment will also involve a detailed interrogation of all the texts listed in the bibliographic program.

If the student demonstrates mastery of the subject, excellent exposure and logical connections between different historical-archaeological issues and about the bibliography will receive a good mark.
Students with a basic knowledge, who will be able to contextualize the archaeological materials examined and who will use a language not always appropriate to the subject will pass the exam.

Students with a lack of preparation, and who have not acquired the capacity to analyse the discipline and who have not memorized the bibliography will not pass the exam.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations; selected bibliography; teaching material online (ONLY for attending students).

Office hours

See the website of Anna Chiara Fariselli